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Certified Translator, stuck in Venezuela, looking for remote freelance work (cointotranslate.com)
177 points by Hernanaracena 72 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 90 comments



Hey there, another venezuelan here.

if you want to help this person PLEASE dont send any money without asking for verification first, I have seen so many people lately using this "please help me im venezuelan and i am in need" to scam money, there has been at least 5 sucessfull scams on r/btc, r/bitcoin and other online forums.

Also Please note that:

1- it's harder to change BTC for VEF than change USD for VEF

2- this domain it's registered at godaddys servers, meaning that what the OP claims here: "Venezuelans cannot accept USD without a bank account. You can use paypal but its hard to exchange from paypal USD to the venezuelan currency (Bolivares)" is half incorrect and does not really applies to him, he had to use either paypal or an international debit/credit card to pay for this domain.


To add to this to this point:

1. USD is the de facto world currency, and many (most?) banks in the world let you open an account in the local currency, plus another account denominated in USD which is absolutely necessary for doing any sort of international business

2. Venezuela's currency collapse is a problem mainly because it needs to import goods (medicine, machine tools, etc.) from the international market, which must be paid in USD, and which Venezuela now can barely source because their oil industry (main source of foreign earnings) is falling apart [1]

3. In most cases, USD is superior (more liquid, more easy to transact in, a more stable store of value) to any cryptocurrency. View 'I'm Venezuela ergo crypto' claims with skepticism, especially when they could be paid in USD to a foreign account instead. Not sure what the exact situation on the ground is in Venezuela, maybe it's very hard to receive USD because the government will seize it, but that's the a situation a foreign bank account can solve.

OTOH, if the goal is to use BTC to pay for living expenses by converting to bolivars, it's probably even easier to use USD.

[1] https://venezuelanalysis.com/news/13803


That's not even close to an accurate assessment. Yes, you can technically have a bank account in Venezuela denominated in USD. However, it would be completely useless for a few reasons.

You cannot withdraw USD in Venezuela. Only Bolivares. And when you withdraw Bolivares from a USD denominated account, the bank must do so at the official rate.

The official government rate is a complete farce and has no bearing on reality. If you were to pull out $1 USD from any bank in Venezuela, you would get about 10 Bolivares. The real rate on the street right now is about 3 million Bolivares to 1 USD. https://dolartoday.com/

In other words, with your USD denominated bank account, you would have to withdraw about $300k usd to buy a bottle of coke.

As for getting an overseas account, that is extremely difficult if not impossible without physically being in that country. In the US you cannot get a bank account without some type of US id, either a SSN or TIN/EIN.

There are very few ways to get money into venezuela. One is to be lucky enough to already have a foreign account or overseas family or friends with an account. You can then transact with other locals who also have a foreign account by transferring money to them electronically.

The other method is Western Union to an adjoining country like Colombia. They go across the border get the cash and come back to Venezuela. Crossing the border with cash is fraught with danger right now. The other option is simply to travel outside the country but getting a travel visa to fly is exceedingly difficult for most Venezuelans. Venezuelan officials have stopped issuing passports to most. And countries like the US are not quick to grant a visa considering the fact that the great majority of tourists from venezuela are going to stay in the US permanently/illegally.

As for crypto... you still have to find someone else with money that is willing to pay cash for a crypto currency. But at least the barrier of entry for crypto currency is much lower right now that the difficulty of getting an overseas bank account.

Things are very, very bad in Venezuela right now. Of course, that doesn't mean scammers won't scam. But if the person is truly still in Venezuela, it is very likely they are in dire straits.


The thing is, I don't see how crypto helps solve any of those issues you enumerated.

I did specifically mention that regardless of whether you try to take crypto or USD, if your goal is to immediately convert into bolivares for survival spending, neither is easy or simple, since the government presumably wants to seize any USD it can get its hands on (the extortionate 'official' conversion rate just being a particular method of doing so).

> But at least the barrier of entry for crypto currency is much lower right now that the difficulty of getting an overseas bank account.

I don't see how that is the case, unless you have a specific example? Sure, you can get a crypto account and perhaps get someone to pay you, but you can equally well get a PayPal account denominated in USD, if you didn't already have a foreign bank account.

Neither of those can directly translate into bolivares, but at least the PayPal account can be be easily used to buy physical goods and perhaps get them into the country if you can bypass or bribe your way through customs.


Slow down, "de facto world currency" and "most banks" is somewhat exaggerated.

The dollar is still a very strong currency and in many areas the leader, but it is still not the world currency. Equally, banks do offer sometimes accounts denominated in USD but this applies mostly to larger banks, is typically a special kind of package, and is a classic foreign currency account you can open for GBP, EUR, SGD, and many other currencies too.


It is most definitely the most used currency for international trade worldwide. It also makes up 64% of all known central bank's foreign currency reserves. If we were to declare a world currency, it would most definitely be USD. Hence why the poster used the term "defacto" I suppose.


Hence I wrote "strong" and "leader in many areas".

"World currency" implies more than a dominant use in international transactions though.

My overall point is the statement as-is (currency and banks) is somewhat exaggerated.


Currency has three main uses: as a unit of settlement (medium of exchange), unit of account, and as a store of value.

USD is by far the leading currency for all three use cases, and you can tell it's the de facto world currency because even international transactions between non-USD-using parties use USD by default.

Whenever a Japanese bank and a Chinese bank transact, it's in dollars. Whenever Venezuela and Cuba transact, it's also in dollars. Whenever international business happens, also in dollars.

This pattern repeats to the tune of 95%+ of the nominal value of all world transactions. Many countries also peg their currency to the USD, e.g. HKD is basically the US dollar.

That's clearly not true for any other currency, and certainly not crypto. I mean, at what point would you agree that it's really the world currency — only when every single transaction is actually denominated de jure in dollars?


the Usd is the de-facto reserve currency of the world, its how america is able to export its inflation and keep printing money without diluting the value of the dollar.


I wont help, as in give money against nothing, but if I have things to translate I will consider their services.

And if their prices are competitive, I have no problem giving them my business.

Commerce is the best help system there is.


op is not the Venezuelan behind the service, explained here[0].

[0]https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17512031


that makes it even more suspicious.

The venezuelan in question, could just use any other freelancing site or a service like fiverr just like any other venezuelan or person from another country.

There is countless way to get paid even if you are Venezuelan living in venezuela, you can normally have a paypal account and use tons of others services like neteller, paxum, payoneer, etc, etc.

I am just warning everyone to be carefull if they feel the need to help the person behind this site in a different way, the site looks like a really smart idea but please be sure that its legit :)


http://whois.domaintools.com/cointotranslate.com is showing: Registrant State/Province: Florida Registrant Country: US

Registered today with GoDaddy.

If you inspect the source, you'll see javascript from www.unbounce.com, which charges a minimum $79/month for marketing. Minimum daily wage in Venezuela is $0.26/day according to https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2018/01/04/new-monthly-...


It seems like you know your away around getting paid in the country, any chance you can get in touch and explain it to them? I wish I could, I'm also Venezuelan but I left in 2010 so I have no idea.


Having a paypal account with an Venezuelan adress allows you to receive payments and to spend the USD of those payments within the paypal network (any site that takes paypal payments).

You can also have other services like payoneer, paxum, skrill, neterller, etc...

Plus, as you should know since you are expat, around 20% of the population has left the country so everyone knows or have a close family/friend who is living outside who can perfectly handle payments for a person in need to receive payments.


If he really does the job and the price is fair (I have no idea how much BTC or ETH is worth right now) then does it really matter if the person is Venezuelan or not?


Venezuelan here. I have to disagree. Changing BTC to VEF is way easy than USD to VEF. I have to exchange my USD to BTC to be able to get VEF.


Can you not directly spend USD in Venezuela (like what happened in Zimbabwe before they switched officially)?


You actually can, there is some ways you can do it:

1. Sellers of "normal" stuff will take USD if you "deal" with them, for example if you need to buy a motherboard, most likely the seller will instantly say yes to an USD offer before getting paid in VEF because the money wont get devaluated in USD, if you check mercadolibre.com.ve (ebay equivalent in venezuela) you can see alot of people offering USD.

2. USD is used for properties such as cars, houses, land, etc. If you want to purchase/sell some of theses you pretty much have to pay/get paid in USD, not in VEF. Of course this is because devaluation is so big that if you sell something in VEF next day you can just lose 5% out of nowhere.

3. If you own a USD debit or credit card, you can use it within Venezuela payment networks, you just wont get the black market rate, you will get the dicom rate that is currently 119.850,00 VEF per 1 usd.. while the black market rate is around 3.200.000 VEF per 1 usd, so you definetely can, just that you wont get a good rate.

And last, it takes some 10 minutes or less to deal exchange of VEF to USD at black market rates, you just need to have the most minimal social interaction, as everyone has friends, family, acquaintances, coworkers, etc who is changing this, it's just such a natural thing to do, dont let the name of "black market" make you think that is some shaddy thing that you need to do where you risk your life, its just some natural exchange of currency that most venezuelans know how to deal with.


This is on point. If you need to change USD -> VEF or back you hit up a cousin on WhatsApp. I actually met someone recently who ran an informal alcohol delivery service back in ~2013-14 who offered discounts if you paid him in USD.


I mean, depends on what you mean by directly spend. You can definitely exchange USD for goods and services from individuals and small companies.


In case anyone is not aware of the current situation of Venezuela. Here is a recent explanation: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17408792


Do you know of a mirror of the video not in that weird scroll form?


The EU has sanctions on Venezuela and the US keeps piling on sanctions and newspaper reports say Trump is contemplating an invasion. Obviously these external pressures will have a negative effect on the Venezuelan economy.

One reason for so much pressure is oil prices are rising and external forces want things changed before that happens. Thus the talk of US invasion.

This is in contrast to the US-backed military overthrow of the Honduran government, which has been slaughtering its political opposition. In fact, these are many of the immigrants on the US border being discussed. The western governments back the military and post-coup governments on that case, which has been much more bloody.


Got any sources for this? Anybody know if these claims are substantial?


Maduro and Chavez just about every time on TV or radio claimed the US was preparing an invasion, was subverting the gov't by way of the opposition, etc. All the way back to the GW Bush, through Obama and till now.

Was/is Chavez/Maduro credible? I'll leave that up to you to decide.

The sitch down there is the govt's own doing. Nationalizing, expelling and enacting policies which drove out Industry SMEs ensured that the country would slowly but surely go downhill.


It's heartbreaking seeing what happened to Venezuela.

It is also really scary as Venezuela was doing relatively quite well compared to other nearby nations. Democracy, functional institutions (relatively) and then .... people chose to vote in some strong men who trashed it.

Granted oil prices would have resulted in real problems anyway, but nothing to the extent we're seeing now. While nobody would want that situation, people in a democracy chose people who set them on that path (since then it hasn't been a democracy) ... and that is scary.


Nationalistic socialist regimes almost always poison the ground beneath themselves. Especially when they try to confiscate and nationalize major sectors of their economies. The history of the last century is so replete with instances of this being attempted and going disastrously wrong.

I can't reply for some reason, but: Ataturk should be forever revered for being one of the very few who was able to steer a country through the narrows between Charybdis and Scylla into a functional state.


Yup, Turkey is swimming in debt... and the water is getting deeper.


I don't know what you're saying there.


Please keep generic ideological battles off HN.


Interesting that dang is making his own political comment here.

Notice that when a comment is ostensibly the same tone, but one with that dang agrees with, dang is nowhere to be found.

dang, do your bosses know that you're still making political comments on the forums?


I know it feels that way, quite convincingly, but I think you're just empirically wrong about this. I post such replies with boring consistency, and you can't conclude anything from them about what I disagree with. That feeling isn't reliable. It's called the Hostile Media Effect and both sides of every controversy experience it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_media_effect

https://hn.algolia.com/?query=%22hostile%20media%20effect%22...


Democracy is hardly democratic anymore. It is mostly just a show. Votes don't seem to matter. Trump won the vote, putin won the vote.


I think the state of democracy can be a wide range of various forms and states and just declaring it "hardly democratic anymore" shows very little perspective and really favors the folks you think might be manipulating it....


And that's the difference between theory and practice.


What do you mean?


> Trump won the vote, putin won the vote.

Not sure how you could be convinced that these elections are even remotely similar in terms of legitimacy, I suggest diversifying your news sources.


Your page says "text that need to be translated" but it would read more correctly as "text that needs to be translated". Just saying! Good luck.


Love the idea.

But I'm curious...

Is ~$12/page actually the going rate for translating english to/from spanish?

As $6,300 USD/BTC * 0.002 BTC = $12.6 USD


https://www.strakertranslations.com/translation-pricing/ - $0.13 - $0.16 per word which comes to $32.50 - $40 per 250-word page.

https://gengo.com/pricing-languages/ - $0.06 - $0.12 per word or $15-30 per page.

https://www.gts-translation.com/translation-prices-per-word/ - $0.10 per word or $25 per page.

https://www.onehourtranslation.com/translation/benefits/tran... - $0.087 or $21.75.

It's certainly seems cheaper and Bitcoin fees seem relatively low right now (at least compared to the end of last year). However, I'm not sure it seems so significantly cheaper, especially weighing the 250-word one-size pricing.

Agreed that it's really cool, though.


WOW... no wonder there are so many AI startups working on translation.

I thought Google Translate uses AI now fairly perfectly.

Why is anyone paying a human translator $40/page when Google Translate is "free"?


Google Translate still gets a lot wrong. It's good enough to understand if you just need to translate foreign language text to something you understand. But for professional documents it's nowhere near adequate.

Another point is it misses a lot of context. My girlfriend is fluent in English and Chinese and has an Art History degree. That domain knowledge makes her quite valuable as a translator for Chinese galleries. There's quite a lot of research involved when she does a translation to find the correct terms for techniques, mediums, styles. Translation is more difficult than it would seem on the surface.


There are plenty of situations when the human sense of nuance and appropriateness is absolutely necessary. Translation of legal documents is at the extreme end of this (for example, when my Brazilian wife had to translate her university diploma into English upon moving to Sweden.)

If you just need to get the basic gist of something in a different language, then machine translation is obviously more performant.


Google Translate is good for like, high school language elective level translations. For a personal use (e.g. buying from a Spanish website) this is more than sufficient. However it is still very easy to tell machine translated text from professionally done work.


Google Translate covers the case that previously would have gone untranslated: e.g. I'm interested in reading this article, but it's in Italian, oh well, I guess I can't. If you're actually publishing something, you need a human, and it's going to take them time and effort and cost you money.

BTW, I find for German-English, DeepL is better than Google or Bing. That may be the case for the other languages it supports, too. Still not good enough for anything that needs to be correct.


Because even Google and Microsoft's translation service isn't really that good, if you want an idiomatic and context-sensitive translation. I'm only involved in some efforts trying to use these services for real-time text translation for IT helpdesk solutions, where results are... mixed, but close enough to usable, depending on the language, but I can easily imagine that for other domains you would definitely want a real person who could evaluate the nuances.


Google translates "The IT group" to French as "Le groupe IL". Context matters.


That's good to know!

I haven't really used them for anything serious in the past few years which is why I asked.

I had just read all of this AI stuff recently about Google using machine learning/AI to better help it's instant audio translation service or something.

Perhaps the only thing they machine-learned was the audio to text conversion part? Not the translation part?


Google Translate still screws up and can frequently sound a little "off" to a native speaker. Professional documents are still going to need a real translator to give them a once over at a minimum.


Apparently it's something like $0.21/word https://slator.com/deal-wins/usd-0-21-per-word-americas-tran...

Another website said $0.11.

250 / $12.6 = $0.5/word which is roughly 1/2 to 1/4 the going rate.


I know people have concerns with altcoin longevity/soundness/security but in a situation where every cent matters maybe an additional crypto to accept would be NANO? Though it seems to be less bartered locally. I read this a few days ago https://www.reddit.com/r/nanocurrency/comments/8wfl2r/venezu...

edit: Oh never mind, moments after I posted this i realized that with altcoins you could end up even less crypto worth vs BTC than you'd save on tx cost. :)


Fuerza bro! Pa’ lante.


While this looks interesting, it only helps one person/family. Is there any other way to help the people in the country? I looked up a couple of websites, but would love to hear people's opinions.


Can you post a eth/bitcoin wallet address on your site?


I’ve submitted his web form requesting it.


Have you considered accepting Nano instead of BTC? Nano is perfect for this since there are zero transaction fees. Also, transactions are instant with Nano. A lot of people in the Nano subreddit are trying to get Venezuelans to start accepting and using Nano. You should definitely post in the Nano subreddit if you start accepting payments via Nano. More info at Nano.org and reddit.com/r/nanocurrency


Build a profile on Peertal & happy to send you LTC payments on the platform for translating our website. https://youtu.be/tkyH3JRxndc


Good luck!

Are you still working on https://www.tryeffortless.com/ ?


thank you, This is not for me I'm just helping somebody in Venezuela (Yes, I'm still working on effortless)


How did you get stuck?


He’s probably venezuelan and by stuck he means he has no feasible way of legally migrating to another country. Therefore, he’s stuck and seeking out help. I know because I myself am a venezuelan who migrated, but have most of my family also stuck in Venezuela.


Yes, incredibly difficult to get a Venezuelan passport now, these restrictions prevents nationals from leaving en masse. Thousands of Venezuelans have illegally walked out of their country, and making their way to my home country Ecuador on foot.


That’s correct, everybody is hungry so corruption is everywhere. To get a passport you need to give the officer an iPhone 7 or a few thousand dollars. I read this today, it’s pretty bad.


Its called living under a dictatorship.


with Maduro being a dictator and the economy being so incredibly rough (like, money worth nothing & people dying from starvation rough), even people who were born there likely feel stuck right now


It's disappointing (to me, at least) that you're being downvoted. Maduro is bad. Worse than Chavez bad. And, yes, mass starvation in Venezuela is very real.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/17/world/america...


Venezuela is working on sovereign crypto asset backed by oil http://archive.is/Zdhxe


“Please help me use the blockchain, a ledger that can never be erased and can be tracked back to you, to circumvent your country’s sanctions against mine.”


Why hasn't some cryptocurrency replaced the bolívar as the unit of currency for most private transactions in Venezuela?

Given the Venezuelan government's poor economic management and tight restrictions on foreign exchange transactions, if cryptocurrency was going to overthrow fiat currency anywhere it should be in Venezuela.


I think you are aiming at this result, but to spell it out:

Because most cryptocurrencies are not suitable for use as a currency. They are not stable units of account, are not as easy to exchange on an everyday in-person basis as cash, and are only a stable store of value by comparison to complete disasters like the bolívar. There are attempts (e.g. https://basis.io/ or https://tether.to/) to make a crypto-currency that fills this niche, but they have flaws (Basis isn't deployed yet, and Tether is a bit scary - it's backed by a single company that theoretically owns one dollar for every Tether coin issued).


Has anyone gotten verification? Or where can I get some bitcoin to try it out?


Hi, sent you an email. Hopefully we can help each other out!


Why not just dollars?


How would you send him/her dollars?


Venezuelans cannot accept USD without a bank account. You can use paypal but its hard to exchange from paypal USD to the venezuelan currency (Bolivares)


How, and why is it easier to exchange BTC for Bolivars, then Paypal dollars for Bolivars?


I thought holding USD was outlawed in Venezuela now?


can't imagine it's easy to exchange bitcoins to bolivars, though I may be wrong if course


Why not exchange bitcoins for stuff, like an actual currency and not just a method of transfer?


Are the transaction fees still ridiculous and is it any faster? I thought it's generally too expensive or slow for most normal transactions


No, at the moment the fees are quite low.

Maybe you could trust the person asking for crypto instead of showing an anti-crypto bias?


Coin Metrics says the transaction fee stands at $7.67 which is astronomical. ETH is a bit lower at $1.39 but that is still far far higher than most payment instruments.


I'm not sure where you are getting those figures from, Coin Metrics shows fees under $1 for both for me [0]. The two sites I've used in the past that have been pretty accurate show ~$0.10 for both [1] [2].

[0] https://coinmetrics.io/charts/#assets=btc,eth_left=averageFe...

[1] https://ethgasstation.info/index.php

[2] https://bitcoinfees.info/


https://ethgasstation.info/ shows $0.092 (3 minutes) for an eth transfer and https://bitcoinfees.info/ shows $0.13 for a bitcoin transaction in the next block (10 minutes)

I have a feeling what you're looking at is old data? Transfers are cheap right now


I don't use BTC much these days, but if you're paying $1.39 for an ETH transaction you're most certainly paying too much.

The StdCost right now is a dime. You can get away with less if you're willing to wait for confirmation (which is possible if you're transacting locally with neighbors).

https://ethgasstation.info/


Check western union.


That's what I am getting at. To pervert the old saying, you can't eat a Bitcoin. Presumably what this person wants is some instrument that can be exchanged for, say, 50 kilos of rice. Are Bitcoin and Ethereum really the best such instruments within Venezuela?


Great idea.


[flagged]


Please don't.




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